When I first met George, I was living in Portland, Oregon; George was a feral cat who had wandered onto our back porch because he wanted to get to know another cat, owned by one of my roommates, Laura. For a long time, George wouldn’t let us pet him, but he seemed curious about us, so we began to feed him. He quickly became attached to us; for example, one day, Susan and I were walking in the neighborhood and he saw us, and he came up and followed us for quite a while. Each day he allowed himself to get physically closer and closer, and finally, one day, he overcame his fear and nuzzled my hand. After this, we let him inside, and at first he was quite disturbed by it, but rapidly he caught on: inside meant warmth, food, and safety… He went from being a wild cat to being a domestic, mostly indoor cat. He’s also one of the smartest cats I’ve ever known; he’s attuned to the behaviors of human beings, even empathetic; he clearly has an idea of the internal mental state of people, far more so than most cats I’ve known. For example, like many cats, he liked to knead when he would sit on you, but the first couple times he did this, we would cry out in pain if he dug his claws in too much. Subsequently he bent his paws back when he kneaded so his claws wouldn’t press into our skin! I don’t think I’ve ever known a cat learn something like that so quickly.
I’m thinking of him right now because he just came out of the bedroom to see what I was doing, typing on my computer late at night, and jumped onto the couch to greet me.permalink |